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California Cling Peach Board Chairman, Sarbjit “Sarb” Johl is Awarded 2016 Agriculturalist of the Year

California State Fair Recognized Peach Grower and Industry Leader for his Decades-Long Commitment

Sacramento, CA, July 20th, 2016— Sarb Johl has proven that “California Grown” is much more than a statewide marketing campaign; it also applies to those who have dedicated their lives to leadership and service within the California agricultural industry. Recently, Johl received the

“2016 Agriculturalist of the Year” Award at the California State Fair’s Gala, at which The California State Fair annually recognizes the accomplishments and service of key individuals or organizations through a series of prestigious awards.

Johl is literally California grown. He grew up in Sutter County when his family first moved here from India in 1966, when he was 13 years old. He began farming with his father in 1976, after graduating from Yuba City High School and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He served as Chairman of the Sacramento Growers Cooperative, a cling peach co-op, from 1986 to 1993 and has also served as a board member of the California Canning Peach Association. He was a founding partner of the Sacramento Valley Walnut Growers LLC., a walnut processing and marketing enterprise, and has served as Chairman of that organization since 2006. In addition to serving on the Northern California Growers Association for 12 years, he has been a Trustee of the Butte-Yuba-Sutter Water Quality Coalition, and is currently the Chairman of the California Cling Peach Board, a position he has held for the last 13 years.

However the arc of Johl’s leadership has not been without its challenges. For example, as Chairman of the California Cling Peach Board, Johl knows firsthand the perception battle that canned fruit faces when it comes nutrition. He, like many growers, believed that canned peaches were a nutritious choice and in 2013, he led the charge to let the science speak for itself. As a result, researchers at Oregon State University and the Linus Pauling Institute proved that not only are California canned peaches nutritionally “on par” with fresh, but that thanks to the canning process, many nutrients, such as folate and antioxidants, actually increase. Thanks to Johl’s vision, nutritionists, registered dietitians, school foodservice directors, retail buyers, moms and many more are now learning about the nutritional benefits of canned California Cling Peaches.

“When I started farming with my dad 40 years ago, I had no idea where that would lead me. It’s been an honor to work with so many committed peach and walnut growers and processors, researchers and innovators, and to volunteer my time for organizations that are making a difference for our industry,” said Johl. “While this award means so much to me, what matters most is that like my father, I have been able to lay the groundwork for my children and, hopefully, for my grandchildren. California agriculture is essential to our state, nation and world on so many levels. I am pleased that I’ve been able to play a part in ensuring the future of farming for generations to come.”

The Johl Family at the 2016 California State Fair Gala

(Pictured left to right, front row: Anu Johl Singh, Sureena Johl, Prabhjot Johl, Sarb Johl, and Kiran Johl Black. Pictured left to right, back row: Mithu Singh and Cameron Black.)

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Founded in 1996, The California Cling Peach Board is a California State Marketing Order, issued in furtherance of the desire of California's cling peach growers to create an environment that enhances the use of cling peaches through promotion, advertising, consumer education, production and marketing research, establishment of grades and standards, and compilation of industry statistics.

For additional information or a high-resolution photo, please contact Ginny Hair at ginnyh@echopr.com or Adrienne Hegarty at adriennem@echopr.com.

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